Anastasia E. Sniderhan


DOI bib
Joint effects of climate, tree size, and year on annual tree growth derived from tree‐ring records of ten globally distributed forests
Kristina J. Anderson‐Teixeira, Valentine Herrmann, Christine R. Rollinson, Bianca Gonzalez, Erika Gonzalez‐Akre, Neil Pederson, Mario Alexánder, Craig D. Allen, Raquel Alfaro‐Sánchez, Tala Awada, Jennifer L. Baltzer, Patrick J. Baker, Joseph D. Birch, Sarayudh Bunyavejchewin, Paolo Cherubini, Stuart J. Davies, Cameron Dow, Ryan Helcoski, Jakub Kašpar, James A. Lutz, Ellis Q. Margolis, Justin T. Maxwell, Sean M. McMahon, Camille Piponiot, Sabrina E. Russo, Pavel Šamonil, Anastasia E. Sniderhan, Alan J. Tepley, Mart Vlam, Pieter A. Zuidema
Global Change Biology, Volume 28, Issue 1

Tree rings provide an invaluable long-term record for understanding how climate and other drivers shape tree growth and forest productivity. However, conventional tree-ring analysis methods were not designed to simultaneously test effects of climate, tree size, and other drivers on individual growth. This has limited the potential to test ecologically relevant hypotheses on tree growth sensitivity to environmental drivers and their interactions with tree size. Here, we develop and apply a new method to simultaneously model nonlinear effects of primary climate drivers, reconstructed tree diameter at breast height (DBH), and calendar year in generalized least squares models that account for the temporal autocorrelation inherent to each individual tree's growth. We analyze data from 3811 trees representing 40 species at 10 globally distributed sites, showing that precipitation, temperature, DBH, and calendar year have additively, and often interactively, influenced annual growth over the past 120 years. Growth responses were predominantly positive to precipitation (usually over ≥3-month seasonal windows) and negative to temperature (usually maximum temperature, over ≤3-month seasonal windows), with concave-down responses in 63% of relationships. Climate sensitivity commonly varied with DBH (45% of cases tested), with larger trees usually more sensitive. Trends in ring width at small DBH were linked to the light environment under which trees established, but basal area or biomass increments consistently reached maxima at intermediate DBH. Accounting for climate and DBH, growth rate declined over time for 92% of species in secondary or disturbed stands, whereas growth trends were mixed in older forests. These trends were largely attributable to stand dynamics as cohorts and stands age, which remain challenging to disentangle from global change drivers. By providing a parsimonious approach for characterizing multiple interacting drivers of tree growth, our method reveals a more complete picture of the factors influencing growth than has previously been possible.

DOI bib
Non-uniform growth dynamics of a dominant boreal tree species (<i>Picea mariana</i>) in the face of rapid climate change
Anastasia E. Sniderhan, Steven D. Mamet, Jennifer L. Baltzer
Canadian Journal of Forest Research, Volume 51, Issue 4

Northwestern Canada’s boreal forest has experienced rapid warming, drying, and changes to permafrost, yet the growth responses and mechanisms driving productivity have been under-studied at broad scales. Forest responses are largely driven by black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) B.S.P.) — the region’s most widespread and dominant tree. We collected tree ring samples from four black spruce-dominated sites across 15° of latitude, spanning gradients in climate and permafrost. We investigated (i) differences in growth patterns, (ii) variations in climatic drivers of growth, and (iii) trends in water use efficiency (WUE) through 13 C isotope analysis from 1945 to 2006. We found positive growth trends at all sites except those at mid-latitude, where rapid permafrost thaw drove declines. Annual growth was lowest at the tree limit site and highest at the tree line. Climatic drivers of these growth patterns varied; positive growth responses at the northerly sites were associated with warmer winters, whereas Δ 13 C trends and climate-growth responses at mid-latitude sites indicated that growth was limited by moisture availability. Δ 13 C signatures indicated increased WUE at the southernmost site, with no significant trends at northern sites. These results suggest that warming will increase the growth of trees at the northern extent of black spruce, but southerly areas may face drought stress if precipitation does not balance evapotranspiration.


DOI bib
Tundra shrub expansion may amplify permafrost thaw by advancing snowmelt timing
Evan J. Wilcox, D Keim, Tyler de Jong, Branden Walker, Oliver Sonnentag, Anastasia E. Sniderhan, P. Mann, Philip Marsh
Arctic Science, Volume 5, Issue 4

The overall spatial and temporal influence of shrub expansion on permafrost is largely unknown due to uncertainty in estimating the magnitude of many counteracting processes. For example, shrubs shade the ground during the snow-free season, which can reduce active layer thickness. At the same time, shrubs advance the timing of snowmelt when they protrude through the snow surface, thereby exposing the active layer to thawing earlier in spring. Here, we compare 3056 in situ frost table depth measurements split between mineral earth hummocks and organic inter-hummock zones across four dominant shrub–tundra vegetation types. Snow-free date, snow depth, hummock development, topography, and vegetation cover were compared to frost table depth measurements using a structural equation modeling approach that quantifies the direct and combined interacting influence of these variables. Areas of birch shrubs became snow free earlier regardless of snow depth or hillslope aspect because they protruded through the snow surface, leading to deeper hummock frost table depths. Projected increases in shrub height and extent combined with projected decreases in snowfall would lead to increased shrub protrusion across the Arctic, potentially deepening the active layer in areas where shrub protrusion advances the snow-free date.


DOI bib
Assessing local adaptation vs. plasticity under different resource conditions in seedlings of a dominant boreal tree species
Anastasia E. Sniderhan, Gordon G. McNickle, Jennifer L. Baltzer
AoB PLANTS, Volume 10, Issue 1

Under changing climate conditions, understanding local adaptation of plants is crucial to predicting the resilience of ecosystems. We selected black spruce (Picea mariana), the most dominant tree species in the North American boreal forest, in order to evaluate local adaptation vs. plasticity across regions experiencing some of the most extreme climate warming globally. Seeds from three provenances across the latitudinal extent of this species in northwestern Canada were planted in a common garden study in growth chambers. Two levels of two resource conditions were applied (low/high nutrient and ambient/elevated CO2) in a fully factorial design and we measured physiological traits, allocational traits, growth and survival. We found significant differences in height, root length and biomass among populations, with southern populations producing the largest seedlings. However, we did not detect meaningful significant differences among nutrient or CO2 treatments in any traits measured, and there were no consistent population-level differences in physiological traits or allocation patterns. We found that there was greater mortality after simulated winter in the high nutrient treatment, which may reflect an important shift in seedling growth strategies under increased resource availability. Our study provides important insight into how this dominant boreal tree species might respond to the changing climate conditions predicted in this region.